When Jackie McLennan, 55, and her friend left for a week-long trip to Miami on March 13, the novel coronavirus still seemed like a faraway problem.
“It wasn’t crazy out in the world yet,” the Markham, Ont., resident told Global News. “It was mostly all overseas … creeping its way over, so we kept our [travel] plans.”
But when McLennan woke up on March 14, everything was different.
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“Everything kind of exploded that weekend,” she said. “All of our friends were texting us all day … saying we should come home, that they might close the borders.”
So the pair cut their trip short, travelling back to Toronto on March 16. The next day, McLennan woke up with telltale symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough and shortness of breath.
“[It] got so much worse so quickly,” she said.
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By March 18, McLennan was struggling to breathe. She texted her brother, a physician at Markham-Stouffville hospital, to get his opinion.